Whisky wanted! Wandering what to do with those whiskies you have gathering dust? We buy whisky – old, rare, not-so-old, not-so-rare – at market related prices. If you’re struggling to make a decision, read on…
What makes a whisky rare or collectable?
Over the years some distilleries’ whiskies have become very sought-after, particularly distilleries that have closed and that used to produce good whisky. In most cases the whiskies being produced at these distilleries was not greatly appreciated at the time, and the distillery may have fallen victim to economic pressures. As is human nature, our tastes vary and can change over time. Some of those whiskies that may not have been greatly appreciated at the time of the distillery’s closure have recently become highly prized with whisky aficionados. Sadly for whisky buffs these whiskies are becoming rarer, and the demand has increased significantly, leading to some prices increasing exponentially over the past few years. This is obviously good news for those collecting whisky. Some good examples of highly prized closed distilleries are Port Ellen, Brora, Rosebank, St Magdalene, Convalmore.
There are also distilleries still in production, as well as some new distilleries, that produce exceptional whiskies and this allows for higher pricing. Some of these distilleries release limited special editions which increase in value as soon as stocks are depleted. Some of these expressions may not necessarily be great quality, but their value lies in their ‘collectability’. Some companies regularly bottle limited release expressions, and these are worth looking out for. Some of the better offerings come from Ardbeg, The Balvenie, Bowmore, Bruichladdich, Glenfiddich, Glenlivet, Glenmorangie, Kilchoman, The Macallan.
Single malts or blends?
All of the whiskies mentioned above are Scotch single malts, from single malt distilleries. But what about blends, and whiskies from other regions? Some of the most expensive whiskies are blends, and have certainly become collectable. There are collectors who are only interested in particular blends and brands, some better examples being the Johnnie Walkers and Jack Daniel’s. Quite often these companies will release limited editions of a particular expression – sometimes only the bottle is different, the content no different to their regular bottlings – and these are priced much higher than their core expressions. They can become very valuable over time, especially in a complete collection. Compass Box is another good example of a company producing exquisite blends and blended malts that may become collectable and valuable over time.
In recent years Japanese whiskies have really come to the fore, with some excellent examples of single malts and blends being available. They tend to be more expensive than their Scottish equivalents, and due to demand outstripping supply they tend to increase in value.
Bourbon and American whisky are also in the collectors’ sights, some of the most notable examples being the range of Jack Daniel’s limited releases, and Pappy van Winkle’s superb bourbon.
Over the past three or four decades some companies have produced interesting limited releases, some, but all, of which have become sought-after collectables. One example that springs to mind is the Bell’s decanters. We are often asked to value collections of these, and the simple answer is that some decanters are more collectable and valuable than others. Those releases that commemorate events such British Royal weddings or births tend to become valuable, while others are worth a little over the amount paid. These items are valued for their decanters, not necessarily for the spirit inside, as opposed to some of the bottlings from the distilleries mentioned above.
Are all of your old whiskies worth good money?
During the whisky boom years there were literally thousands of brands on the market, some good, some not so good. Some of these brands disappeared off the market for good reason, some of which are still gathering dust in homes the world over. They make for great spectator value, but may not be worth anything to a collector. Among your whisky collection you may have some gems; our advice is: If you’re interested in selling your whisky collection, get an offer for the entire collection, don’t sell off the collectables piecemeal or you may end up not being able to sell the others! We buy whisky in all shapes and forms, so please afford us the opportunity of making you a decent offer.
Are whiskies with age statements worth more than those without?
It is a fact that with the recent increased interest in whisky, distilleries are struggling to keep up with demand, and with this in mind many old favourite malts around 10 – 15 years old are disappearing and being replaced by NAS (No Age Statement) expressions. In effect the distilleries are bottling vattings of various casks of varying ages to a particular flavour profile. Remember, these are still single malts as they are being produced at one distillery with malted barley. A blended malt refers to a whisky of which the core malts are products of two or more distilleries, while a blend contains grain whisky.
Some of these NAS whiskies being released of late are of exceptional quality, even with some younger malts in the mix. We have also tasted some exceptional malts of four to six years old, as well some mediocre offerings aged over 30 years, so it’s not always the case the older is better. That said, there are some inferior quality overpriced NAS whiskies out there and it is up to you to make the final decision.
Some of the more well-known aged whiskies to disappear off our shelves recently include The Macallan (their 10, 12, 15 and 18 year old core range) and Johnnie Walker Green Label (15 y/o). The ever-popular Glenlivet 12 year old is being replaced by their Founder’s Reserve, and the Macallan core range is now their 1824 Series – the Gold, Amber, Sienna, and Ruby.
Should I sell or hang on to my collection?
As with any hobby or interest, you may not have the passion for whisky that you had a few years ago, or you may have inherited a collection and don’t have the interest. If this is the case, why not give someone else, who has the passion, the opportunity to start or expand on a collection, giving you some extra cash to put into some other interest?
We buy whisky
We buy whisky for adding to our collection, as well as reselling to other whisky enthusiasts, so we’re able to give your collection a good home. Please give us a call or send us a mail.